Thursday, April 28, 2011


Great Granddad invited his great grandchildren to help him plant watermelon and cantaloupe seeds in his garden. There were 4 energetic helpers! After helping to spread chicken manure and riding the tractor they were ready to plant.

Planting leeks here.

Great Granddad keeps pulling out these kid size tools. Josiah loves them! Josiah was out helping to spread more manure longer than anyone else lasted.

I should also note that this is larger than your average garden. It is a small farm. For his first planting of corn Great Granddad planted 8 fifty foot rows. He plans on having 2 more plantings that size.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Best of Friends

Recently Aliza and Josiah have been the best of friends. The mess is so much more bearable when I hear them playing happily and enjoying each others company. I'm glad they have found each other to be good playmates because I am not a good playmate at all. I have no imagination and trying to play imaginary games with me is not fun.

They play "Mama" in the morning.

The tub became a boat. It was so cute when they were both in the tub, but Aliza made sure that I did not get a picture of that!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We had a lovely Easter celebration. Not only did we celebrate our Lord's Resurrection, we got to celebrate spring. The trees were green, the flowers were blooming and the air was not just warm. It was hot! It was a perfect day to be reminded of new life.

We had church in the morning and family egg hunt and feast in the evening. Jeremy was in a picture taking mood. Sorry. These have already been on facebook, but here are some of my favorite people pictures.

My father-in-law. It is so good to see that smile and sparkle in his eyes.

My mother-in-law, me and Anna. This was the first Easter that we had with them since we've had children. It was great to have them with us.

My Grandad with Renee.

My Gramma. She wasn't feeling well, but she could sit and enjoy the children.

My Mom and Dad.

Linda. We celebrated her birthday on Sunday. =)

Laura. We celebrated her birthday on Sunday too. =)

Renee. Almost walking.

Caleb's egg hunting face.

Gideon. He stands at the window calling for me. I know. I'm an awesome aunt. I bring 2 crazy kids to his house to play with.

Josiah. He was really into dress clothes this weekend. It was hot. I insisted he wear shorts and he had to be hot in that long sleeve shirt.


Me and Anna.

Me, Mom and Anna.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anna--5 Months

Believe me, when you start kissing those cheeks it is next to impossible to stop!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Fun Grandma Day

The day started out with Jury Duty for me, but I got home in time for the egg decorating fun. Josiah was the "busiest" little decorator. He kept about 3 eggs in his cup at a time.

Gideon would have preferred to dye his hand yellow.

Busy. Enough said.

Coloring eggs is serious business. Look at those expressions of concentration.

My mom was in and out all day. We got to play with Renee. Fill Easter favors. Make marshmallow easter candy. And take a walk.

It was a fun day to kick off a week of Easter celebrations!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I had big plans to finish a scrapbook layout tonight. It's not happening. There is rain and thunder so we have campers in our room. You would have thought we were throwing a big party, there was so much excitement! I'm all for cuddling and slumber parties during thunderstorms, but the party is wearing off now. These kids need to go to sleep!!!

Instead of scrapbooking, I'll write.

I cleaned the downstairs today. It was a daunting task, but I kept at it until it was done! The upstairs will be tackled tomorrow. Cleaning brought the issue of material things to my mind again. Actually I've been thinking about material things frequently.

There is a battle that rages in my mind--the desire for material things on one side and the desire to be content on the other. On the days the desire for material things has the upper hand I compare what I have to what others have and I come up short--far short--every time.

When contentment has the upper hand I choose to be satisfied with our home and its furnishings. I remind myself that we have chosen family and relationships over financial gain and material things.

We've made our decision. I'm not making any changes to my life so why does this war rage?

I think that contentment, like forgiveness, is a choice. A choice that has to be made over and over. A choice that becomes easier the more that choice is made. I'm going to endeavor to choose to be content.

Friday, April 15, 2011

O! What a Beautiful Day!

We have had beautiful spring days! It is so nice to open the sliding door and add the deck as another room in our house.

It's time for some pictures and lots of them!
Our crab apple tree is blooming and the dogwoods will be in a day or two.

Aliza was being a stinker and sticking her head in every picture I was trying to take of Anna.

The fresh air this morning wore Anna out. When I sat her in the high chair for lunch she promptly fell asleep. (This is exactly how my brother sucked his fingers as a baby.)
Sound asleep. I carried her upstairs and fed her and she never opened her eyes. Too precious.

This afternoon there was a serious butterfly catching expedition in our yard. Aliza decided she wanted a pet butterfly (since they don't get bigger) and set out to catch one. She put on her tennis shoes, instead of her standard rubber boots, so that she could run faster. Boy, did she run. I giggled as I watched her run and run swinging the net around wildly. My job, as specified by Aliza, was to stand on the deck with the container and when she caught a butterfly she would call. I was supposed to RUN to her with the container. I admit I had quite low expectations about the success of this expedition.

After a few minutes I told Aliza that I had to use the bathroom. While I was sitting there the door flew open and Aliza informed me that she had caught a butterfly, but it was gone because I didn't come with the container. Oops. She went back out. I checked on the other children and I heard Aliza calling me from outside. She was croutched on the ground, holding her net over a dear little butterfly with all her might. Believe me. I RAN with that container to her and when that little butterfly got stuck in the grass I picked it up with my fingers and put it in the container.
See that little yellow butterfly? It's hanging from the net. You would have thought Aliza found gold. She was so excited. If this pet fever she has been suffering from can be taken care of with a butterfly I'm all for it!
Josiah got in on the action. When Aliza caught her second butterfly Josiah RAN the container to her and helped her transfer the butterfly into the container. They were successful and so so proud of themselves. Aliza was a little concerned that the first butterfly wasn't flying. She said, Oh no, Mom. Did I die it?

It's been a most lovely two days outside. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homemade Tomato Sauce

*I can hardly take pictures of people let alone food. So I'm posting a recipe with no pictures. Gasp.*

I came across a recipe in the Parenting Early Years magazine for a veggie loaded tomato sauce. These types of recipes don't usually interest me, but for some reason this one did. I read through it a couple times, thought about it a lot and finally decided to try it.

My confidence in this was very low. I bought the ingredients and then took them to my Mom's house to make it. Next time I could do it by myself though!

Jeremy gave the sauce two thumbs up and Aliza scarfed her spaghetti down with no hesitation. I was quite proud. It was a "good Mama" moment. I'll make it again. I'm hoping that I can thicken it up a bit to be a homemade pizza sauce since we have pizza every Friday night.

It was certainly not economical to buy veggies instead of spaghetti sauce in a can, but maybe my Grandad's garden will produce lots of veggies this summer and I can make some to freeze. Oh! Then I would feel like a really great Mennonite Mama. hahah.

The Best Tomato Sauce Ever
(by Jamie Oliver)

Roughly chop:
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 small leek (wash thoroughly of sand)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 carrots
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, followed by all your chopped and grated veggies. Add a large pinch of dried oregano and 2 bay leaves, then cook slowly, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes with the lid on, or until the vegetables are soft but not starting to brown. Meanwhile...

Peel and grate 1 butternut squash. Add it to the vegetables.

  • 4 (14.5 oz.) cans of plum tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups water
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • and freshly ground black pepper
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, or until squash is soft. Spoon out bay leaves and let the sauce cool slightly before blitzing with a stick blender until smooth (or blender or food processor). Makes 13 cups.

I'm sure you can make all kinds of modifications to this recipe. I didn't know what an acorn squash was and got a small yellow one. I used more celery than called for. I also bought diced tomatoes already seasoned with basil and oregano. I did not add any other spices. I also added a small can of tomato paste. Next time I will add more tomato paste.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Will Pee 4 Prizes

It's Josiah's turn for potty training. We tried a little bit last summer, but it wasn't a great success so I just put it on the back burner until after we settled in with a new baby. This was the big week. Complete with a basket of dollar tree prizes. When the basket came down last Sunday night Josiah and Aliza burst into tears. Josiah because he did not want to wear big boy underwear and Aliza because she wanted prizes. I went to bed hoping that morning would not come!

By Tuesday night Josiah figured out that it was pretty cool to use the potty and get a prize. Of course he had perfect success when he was bare and zero success when he had pants on. Boy, he could pee often bare!

Last night he decided not to eat his supper. No problem. The rule is that if you don't clean up your plate there are no snacks. Well, he opened up all his wrapped prizes so I restocked the basket with baggies of treats--mostly M&Ms and mini marshmallows. Josiah was on a peeing streak! The little stinker figured out how to get snacks without eating his supper. I guess he needs a smarter Mama. Last night potty training won out over eating supper.

This morning I had a true success. I left underwear on Josiah while we did our hour's worth of errands. When we got on our road he communicated (in an odd way) that he needed to use the potty. When we got home he was still dry. I took him straight to the bathroom and he was successful. I was so happy! There were a couple other times today that he went to the bathroom when he had underwear and pants on. I can only hope that we are making progress and that he will be potty trained in a far shorter amount of time than it took his sister.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Little Miss Roly-Poly

Anna no longer stays on her play mat. She rolls and rolls. Kicks her legs and chatters.

Here she got her legs stuck under the couch.

I was very surprised when I found Anna way over there!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I'm not really a fan of gaming. I don't see a whole lot of value beyond entertainment in playing computer games. I know. I've read articles that computer games increase hand-eye coordination, develop problem solving skills and teach children decision making skills.

Enter Minecraft. As I type this post my hubby is sitting beside me watching YouTube videos of Minecraft. Aliza and Josiah have really enjoyed watching Jeremy play. One evening they spent a good hour and a half fully engaged in Jeremy's game. They came upstairs at bedtime and told me how they had built this and that, made a cake, protected their house from spiders and next time they were going to build a trap. Apparently at some point Jeremy told Aliza she could have her own map when she turned 5.

Now this is how the viewing area looks:
I comfort myself with a couple things. I think that, maybe, Aliza is learning a few things while she plays. If she wants a bed she has to cut down the trees and build the bed. If she wants light she has to have wood and coal to build a torch. If she wants to make a cake she has to plant wheat in her garden, gather eggs from chickens and find some sugarcane for sugar. Secondly, this is a special thing she does with her Daddy. She thinks of questions to ask him and he has to help her play. I figure instead of playing Uno or Yahtzee together they will play Minecraft. A little odd, I know.
She is still figuring out how to use a mouse. It takes lots of concentration.
(Yes, I serve supper out of pots and pans!) Before supper tonight Aliza came running from playing outside and gathered up paper and crayons. She and Daddy were going to make a list. This list turned out to be diagrams of the crafting table so that Aliza would know what supplies she needs to build certain things. Aliza told me, "My Daddy is such a good teacher." He really is. He is so patient and will explain anything to her in great detail. She figured out the way to a great relationship with her Daddy...figure out what he is interested in and be genuinely interested in it also.